1928 R52 BMW

I once owned three of these fine old models.  All three were in running order.  This is the only one for which I have photos.  I can’t recall taking photos of the other two and certainly haven’t found any.

This one was purchased during one of my trips to Europe.  It was a fair runner and had the most accessories mounted on it.  The rear solo sear was a top of the line accessory at the time.  The name of the seat was on the rear and was made of glass.  I took a photo, but haven’t seen it for years.  The round knob on the front was the adjuster for seat tension.  It worked perfectly and could be adjusted for a light to a fairly heavy passenger.  See the steel-framed grab handle?  It had a wooden dowel on the steel mount for the passenger’s hand.  Can you imagine how the passenger would “feel” after the bike had a collision?  Ouch.  How does one explain that in the ER?

The second machine has mostly escaped my memory.  It ran well but was bare bones with no accessories.  I don’t even remember where it went.

The third one has an interesting story.  A wealthy man was visiting Europe with his sailboat.  He purchased a new R52, put it on the boat, and it sailed back to CA.  The bike was used on his estate.  I was told that it never left the estate and wasn’t registered.  Someone crashed it, and it got a few bumps and bruises.  It was disassembled, painted blue, fixed, and put back together.  The bent frame wasn’t fixed, as it had a slight lean.

When that gentleman died, one of his friends ended up with it.  He was one of my customers in Duane’s Shop in SF.  He had told me about his R52.  One time he loaded it up and brought it by my shop to show me.  On his death bed, he told his wife to sell it to me, along with his R69S that had less than 100 miles on it.  He said that I would pay her a fair price, which I did.

The R69S went to one of my favorite customers, Tony Perles.  The R52 ran very well and probably didn’t have 5 k miles on it.  We rode it often at events and rallies.   I had it when I was in Fort Bidwell in the late 70s.  I don’t recall where it went.

I do remember that I didn’t pay over $2k for any of them, but back then, that was a lot of money for bikes that were not in demand.

This is the front page of an article from Rider 1983 showing my R52

Updated 13 Nov. 2019